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Perfect Cable Designed DIY Power Cord  

post #1 of 150
Thread Starter 
Hello all,

In light of the recent events this week I thought I would try to change the subject by offering another diy power cord for avs members.

The design is rather simple and not expensive. The design is offered for diy use only and not re-sale. With that out of the way you really only need a couple items for a standard 2 meter power cord.


1. 32 feet of 12ga Stranded Carol Brand 600v wiring. 8 feet should be black or red. Another 8 feet should be white or gray. And 16 feet should be green.

2. WattGate 320 IEC.

3. Leviton 5266-C or Marinco 8215 AC Plug.


The design of the power cord is rather simple. Follow these directions:

1. Slice the 16 feet of green wire in half to make two 8 foot pieces of wire.

2. Place the wire side by side. It should be black for hot, green for ground, green for ground, and white for neutral. Use a locking clamp to secure the end of the wires.

3. Braiding the wire is very easy. With the 4 wires facing you, cross the 2 grounds wires over each other and move them to the outside. This should put the black and white wire in between the 2 grounds. Now cross the black and white wire over each other and move them to the outside. This should now put the 2 ground (green) wires in between the black and white wire. Repeat this procedure for the rest of the cable.

4. Every foot of braided wire your going to need to play tug of war with the cable. In order for this design to work it needs to be a tight braid. Pulling on the wire will help shape the braid.

5. Once braid is completed you need to wire the cable into the IEC connector and AC Plug.

6. Once AC connectors are wired properly the power cord will require 72 hours of non-stop playback to break-in. So far I haven't found a place the cord doesn't sound good. The 12ga has a nice warmth and top and bottom extension. I have not found the need to use a power conditioner with this design. I'm using the cable as mu main into my diy power strip and I'm very pleased with the results. Other's who have tried the design have also raved about the results in their audio and video systems.

Please report your results after your diy cord has broken in.

Enjoy!!!



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Alan Maher
Perfect Cable
post #2 of 150
Thanks, Alan. Now is anyone going to step up to the plate, build it, and try it??

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Steve Bruzonsky
post #3 of 150
Thread Starter 
Note:

All Perfect Cable sales will be donated to the American Red Cross during this time of crises.

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Alan Maher
Perfect Cable

[This message has been edited by Alan Maher (edited 09-14-2001).]
post #4 of 150
Thanks for another great project Alan. What impact would there be if you replaced the WattGate IEC with the Marinco 320 IEC? The WattGate IEC plug is around $80 while the Marinco is around $18, or am I being penny wise and pound foolish?

Thanks again for your contributions to this forum.

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Kevin Anderson
Salt Lake City
post #5 of 150
Well forget my above post. I thought there was only one Wattgate. I see that the 320 Wattgate IEC plug is around $20.00.

In any event, what differences would one hear if they built the power cord using the $85 Wattgate 350?

I am anxious to build this cord and try it out.

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Kevin Anderson
Salt Lake City
post #6 of 150
Thread Starter 
Kevin,

The WattGate 320 and 350 IEC connectors first of all use different plating. The 320 I think uses zinc while the 350 uses 24k gold plating over brass contacts. The zinc offers a colder, slightly more distorted sound compared to the 350. The 350 has much better top and bottom extension, a beautiful midrange texture, and a sweet top end. But I really only recomend the 350 to be used with the 330 ac plug. The combination (both offer a different sonic quality) of the two models just meld together.

My suggestion with this cord is to use the 320 with the Marinco 8215 as my first choice (unless you want to spring for the 350/330 combo). I have my power cord hardwired on one end into a Eagle IG8300 20A ac outlet (diy power strip) and the Leviton 5266-C ac plug on the other end. I have been very happy with the results in my system. So happy matter of fact that I have removed all other add on filters (diy plug in filters) from my house. The power cord appears to work very well with digital and video components.

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Alan Maher
Perfect Cable
post #7 of 150
I am going to try this this morning.
Of course being in Australia, I have been unable to find (actually didn't look that hard) the very same cable described. But as close as I could get.
So expect results in 3 or 4 days.
Its good to get back to some kind of normality.
Some kind.
Best wishes to all.
post #8 of 150
Ok, they're made and in.
First reactions are, oh I should say that I have made two of them and used them to replace the cords on my monoblocks. The old cords were another of Alan's designs, using 2 runs of co-ax for each cord.
Even without burn-in there was a marked change in character.
A clearer, deeper bottom end, not a huge difference, but my system is tuned/tweaked for a biggish bass.
Softer? yes a little and sweeter.
Now I'm a bit surprised because this is straight out of the blocks....
Still, I'm a subjectivist......
I'm very happy, well apart from my fingers which are sore from the plaiting, which, as ever, is a pain.
I'll post again when they have had time for a good burn in.
Thanks Alan, its time to start to be ourselves again.
post #9 of 150
OK one day in.
Nice airy top end.
I'm using these in a music only system so comments will be only for sound.
Bass is very nice, big but not really cavernous (you know, fuzzy and echoey).
I'm liking these very much and its not even 24 hours burn in.
Even my cats who usually show a preference for more ambient kinds of music have been investigating the bass culturekind of music I like.
Its a very wooden, natural sound.
Yes that's the best description of it I think.
I like that very much.
post #10 of 150
I stopped by Lowe’s on the way home from work on Friday and picked up the wire for a total cost of about $5.00. I already had the Leviton 5266-C plug (which I think was about $8.00). I didn’t need the IEC plug because I planned to hardwire the cord into my Marantz Doby Digital decoder. Thus, the total cost for this tweak is about $13.00.

I had a little trouble figuring out how to braid the thing until my daughter helped me out (she has braided a lot of those ankle bracelets that are so popular). Total construction time was about an hour. Having someone help you with the braiding is a big plus to keep the wires from tangling

On Saturday morning I connected it to my Marantz, turned it on, and then went to play golf for the rest of the day.

That evening I put on my usual test CDs. I was interested to see that DaveC had the same experience I did. I noticed a slight but definite improvement with less grunge resulting in more detail and air. However, the biggest improvement, and I mean big, was in tighter bass and a broader spectrum of bass. Instead of just “thump thump†I could distinguish the various bass notes on many rock songs.

I enjoyed my CDs for a while and then put on a few DVDs and enjoyed the same results. I especially noticed the difference on the opening of Jurassic Park during the Universal logo. Previously, the big drum (I guess) would rattle the room with impressive impact, but now it contained the subtlety of the bass notes. Still the slam of sound, but more musical and less annoying. I noticed a similar effect on Mission Impossible II with all the heavy bass rifts – definitely more musical.

Thanks again Alan for a great tweak that is cheap to buy, fun to make, and results in a noticeable improvement to a system.

I am going to build a second one and try it on my upstairs Pioneer receiver. I will let you know how that turns out.

------------------
Kevin Anderson
Salt Lake City

[This message has been edited by Kevin R. Anderson (edited 09-17-2001).]
post #11 of 150
Thread Starter 
Kevin,

Switch the Leviton AC Plug for the Marinco 8215. This will improve the top end extension and provide greater detail.


Dave,

If the cable is too warm, then I would use a smaller wire diameter. With each size down the top end will gain extension. But be careful...as with all improvements you will find the point where you went too far. So tailor the wire size per component.


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Alan Maher
Perfect Cable
post #12 of 150
Alan, thanks for the tip.
As with the last time I used one of your designs and moved from the co-ax based cords to plaited designs the sound seems to become less "dark" but with a deeper extension. I put that down to top extension and the transparency/air in that top end. Oh so its more extended at each end and more transparent. I'm thinking on my feet here about how to describe it.
Kevin, as we changed from different previous cords we would expect to hear some sort of difference in the changes.
I like the fact that we both find it a positive change at a very cheap price.
post #13 of 150
What do you mean by "shotgun"?

SM
post #14 of 150
Running 2 lengths of cable but mono-wiring them into the speaker NOT bi-wiring.
Alan, at the moment, as I listen to Aussies trying to cause panic saying the NYSE collapsed, which hasn't been my impression (sorry couldn't resist dropping that in), I am hearing that natural sound to the human voice.
Its a very good test of a system.
I'm about 42 hours in to the burn in.
post #15 of 150
Thread Starter 
Dave your right...I always felt the dual coaxial could be too much of a good thing as you increased the number in your system. Synergistic Research has the same problem...that is why they use extensive amounts of silver in their other cable designs to help thin out the sound...same holds try for WireWorld.

Play around with different wire sizes and types of wires (mil spec vs. bare copper conductors). Remember that component of yours is only designed to be used with it's stock power cord...anything larger than that is overkill...so any major improvement your hearing is the result of two area's...1. wire resonate character...and 2. the size of the ground coverage. As you increase the size of the ground you will begin to notice a warmer sound quality, but on the other hand warmth comes as the direct result of rolling off the highs...so you need to strike the proper balance with each component.

As a note: bass is never a welcome addition to any audio system. Bass thump (boost) is never considered bass extension or blacker noise floor. When you can hear the articulation and extension of the bass, then and only then have you designed a good quality cable. Same holds true in the upper mids and lower treble. If vocals sound un-natural, then your cable is designed wrong no matter what the ad says in the magazine. Vocals should sound the same as they would if you and I were speaking in the same room. If they are altered or have added weight compared to your own human voice, then you need to replace that cable.

I have not seen any of these problems with this cord in my system. As you know I design my system to be as flat as possible in my room, so any tilt this way or that way is noticed. Keep up the experiments with wire size until your 100% satisfied.


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Alan Maher
Perfect Cable
post #16 of 150
Thread Starter 
You can also build speaker cables using this design. Don't use Carol Brand wire, but you can use 16ga mil spec wire or 16ga 6N silver/teflon with very good results. The silver is my personal favorite (use XLO bare copper spades...use 16ga WBT solder...clean spade inside and out with ProGold GXL). You can either shotgun the wire, or 2 + and 2-, or even a bi-wire cable. In the bi-wire version it's slightly light in it's sound quality (bass), but I would seriously compare it to a Nordost Blue Heaven. The 2x2 cable in the all silver versions sounds about the same as the Nordost Red Dawn without the noise problems. And the shotgun reminds me of the old Kimber 8AG speaker cable, which is still considered of of the best ever made.


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Alan Maher
Perfect Cable
post #17 of 150
I've just been siting down listening with sheer delight to how this new cord is opening up.
I've used a CD called Tabla Beat Science to demo it and the results are staggering.
This album features percussion from Zakir Hussain, Trilok Gurtu and Talvin Singh, often all at once.
Some of this is acoustic, some is acoustic but electronically treated and some is electronic.
On top of that is a plthora of electronics.
On a less than clear system it can sound somewhat confused.
I have never NEVER heard the drum lines from each player with the not just clarity, but ease that I have right now.
Its not just a case of seperation. The nuances of playing are there and little electronic noises which follow certain parts are cleaned up and put on display.
I am rather bemused by the effect of this very cheap cord.
Its still not 72 hours into the burn in, more like 60, but I'll be out of town tomorrow and may not be back until the next day, so my kittens will have the fun of listening by themselves.
I'm sure they will enjoy it, they are quite the little music lovers.
post #18 of 150
Thread Starter 
Dave,

No need for any wide spread panic with Wall Street. Anyone who follows the stock market on a minute to minute basis will tell you Monday was expected. Not because the WTC had fallen, but due to the fact that last Wednesday began options and experations. The large Wall Street brokers have to sell the contracts every quarter to generate capitol gains for the investor and Uncle Sam. The market, as it does every year, should go sideways for the next couple of weeks with the upswing around October 15 til the end of the year. The media does this same panic line every quarter at this time here in the states. It's all non-sense...

Just think what you can achieve if you start playing around with wire size and different grades of metal. I have a 6N silver/teflon version in my system that is to die forhttp://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif The sound is extremely detailed, articulate, and airy without any added brightness. The overall sound is still very warm with added smoothness and extension. I'm in the process of fine tuning this cable for my PC product line.

Your actually rather lucky. Since you use balance power your actually using the cord the way it's designed to be used. Having the two power conductors and dual grounds enhances common mode rejection within the cord design.


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Alan Maher
Perfect Cable
post #19 of 150
Thanks Alan, I might well try another version of this when I have a little time, its certainly getting very good now.
The Wall Street Panic was from Radio National here which is usually a very good station. I watched 2 or 3 financial channels and as soon as the first few minutes had gone it was clear there was no panic at all.
Unfortunately I have some money in managed funds (which normally do very well) but this is an international fund manager and they have had no computer system for the last week... or so they say.
So I have been unable to even find what the fund is worth let alone how individual parts of it are doing. Its all an act of faith at the moment.
Oh I've got a bit off topic.
post #20 of 150
After Alan’s comments about listening to voices, I went home and turned on the PBS HDTV demo loop (RCA DTC-100 receiver with optical output to Marantz decoder wired with Alan’s power cord) and watched a show about the Soviet rocket program.

I’ve always listen to music or action movie soundtracks to evaluate changes to my system, so it was a new experience to just listen to a human voice. Since I haven’t focus on just voices, this may not be a valid observation, but the voices from the show were so palpable and alive that it was really amazing to me. Occasionally there were some good rocket sound effects that shook the room with the improved bass, but then the return to the quiet narration reemphasized the living quality of the voices.

I don’t want to overstate the improvements because I’m not sure Joe Six-Pack would notice the difference, but if you enjoy tweaking your system trying to extract the last measure of performance, this is an excellent project based on cost, ease of construction, and results.


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Kevin Anderson
Salt Lake City
post #21 of 150
Thread Starter 
Kevin,

You should also dial in your speakers listening to both male and female vocals from various artist. Quality of bass issues and placement guess work mentioned by the media and Circuit City salesmen types is all non-sense from those who don't understand audio reproduction. You will find if you use the proper math vs guess work, and you follow my vocal techniques listed on the diy site for main speaker placement you will discover a world of information you never dreamed was part of the recording. Try the suggestions and see what you think.


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Alan Maher
Perfect Cable
post #22 of 150
Alan, I took your advice, read your speaker placement tips on your DIY web page http://community-2.webtv.net/audionutAK/ spent about 20 minutes adjusting my speaker location, and all I can say is WOW!!!!!!!!

Not since I incorporated your tweaks into my DVD player have I heard such an improvement in sound. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, I’ve gone to another level in listening enjoyment.

I was very fortunate that the distance ratios suggested on your web page were easily adaptable to my home theater (my couch is immovable and my movie screen is essentially permanently attached to the wall). Having the speakers 3 feet away from the front and side walls places them a little too far out in the room for my wife’s liking, but I convinced her it is a small price to pay for sonic perfection.

The more musical bass I experienced with the power cord now couples perfectly with the front speakers. There is now a seamless transition between the front speakers and the subwoofer, something I have never been able to fully accomplish before. Not only is there more “slam†to the bass, but there is also greater detail – its like the best of both worlds. However, none of the bass leaks unnaturally into the voices which are pure and clean.

I also love how expansive the sound stage has become while maintaining a rock solid center image. As you said, I heard details in my CDs and the placement of instruments that I have never heard before. It was so much fun, I stayed up until 1:00 a.m. last night listening to my collection.

I can’t wait to hear what happens when I play movie soundtracks.

Maybe the rest of you figured these things out a long time ago, but for me it was a revelation. I strongly recommend experimenting with Alan’s suggestions for speaker placement.


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Kevin Anderson
Salt Lake City

[This message has been edited by Kevin R. Anderson (edited 09-19-2001).]
post #23 of 150
Just back from an overnight trip dpwn the coast and now the cables are burnt in beyond the 72 hours stage.
I've had to take a cat to the vet and now I've been sitting down and letting the sound wash over me.
Its that wonderful combination of relaxed and analytical that is tricky to describe. Nothing seems like a strain for it.
Of course what I am describing as much as any objective sound is the comparison with the old cables, butt he system was good before.
I can here tiny nuances in playing and a great sense of the acoustic of the rooms used for recording.
I may even replace my other power cords which at the moment are one of Alan's earlier plaited designs, but with only 3 cables (one earth not two).
Thanks Alan.
post #24 of 150
I just ordered the Marinco 8215 hospital grade 3-prong connector. I will let you know what impact this plug has on the Alan Maher perfect power cord.

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Kevin Anderson
Salt Lake City
post #25 of 150
Thread Starter 
Kevin,

Have you tried the Eagle IG8300RN 20A ac outlet from Lowes yet??? They are nothing short of fantastic. Worth every penny. The Eagle requires 4 days to break in.

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Alan Maher
Perfect Cable
post #26 of 150
Thread Starter 
Kevin,

Which speaker placement equation did you use? I'm just curious...maybe we can fine tune the postion a little more??? I'm putting together a list of DIY projects that will blow away many $1000+ items on the market. Would you or others be interested in DIY cable designs? If so, e-mail me when you get a chance and we'll go about it in that fashion before I unleash them here for the general public. The first cable design is based off of one of my earlier digital cable designs. Cost is around $85 for this DIY project, but it compares to digital cables priced around $1500.


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Alan Maher
Perfect Cable
post #27 of 150
I'm really interested in DIY cables, and really want to try the powercord first.

I'm having trouble finding the female IEC plugs, though. Any suggestions as to where to get decent quality ones that will take a heavy gauge wire? Are any besides the wattgate worthwhile to use? Hubbel?

Thanks for any info!
--Jonathan
post #28 of 150
Alan, I used the following formula from you DIY page:

Distance from speaker to wall: at least 3 feet/1 meter
Distance between speakers: no more that 60% of width of room.
Distance from front of speakers to listening area: 1.33 times the distance between speakers.

Listening to DD 5.1 movies is also much improved with a much better blending of sound between the front and rear speakers. I also like the way the sound effects mix with the center channel.

I would be very interesting in building a digital cable. I was actually just about to order one for about the same price you are talking about.

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Kevin Anderson
Salt Lake City

[This message has been edited by Kevin R. Anderson (edited 09-21-2001).]
post #29 of 150
Thread Starter 
Another IEC connector to consider is the Furutech which can be purchased from Gutwire or The Parts Connection for $60. The sound quality is right up there with the WattGate 350 IEC connector.

Kevin,

Building cables is a snap. The digital cable I have in mind really offers a world of difference in a good quality system. It's a rather simple design that requires a few items. All items can be purchased at Michael Percy Audio (www.bainbridge.net/percyaudio). I would highly recommend that you pick up a couple good quality rca jacks and a ac outlet and ac plug. Silver/teflon cables need an electrical break in to reach their full potential. Yu will never achieve burn-in using the analog/digital output of your cd/dvd player. Solder two 16ga copper wires to each rca (signal and ground). Wire the other end into the ac parts. Add heat shrink to insulate solder joints. I like to plug my cable box into this set up and leave it on for the next 5 days. You'll know when the digital cable is broken in because you will hear a major change in bass frequencies from your cable box.

List of materials needed for a 1 meter cable:

1. 10 feet of 16ga solid core silver/teflon wire.

2. Vampire 800C rca connectors.

3. 4 feet of 1/4" fiberglass cloth sleeving.

4. 1 foot of 1/2" Adhesive lined heat shrink.

5. 16ga WBT solder

6. Hot glue gun


Instructions:

Take the 10 feet of 16ga silver wire and divide it by 3. Cut each piece to equal length (1 signal and 2 ground).

Clamp the 3 pieces of wire on 1 end (ground, signal, ground). Now braid the 3 wires together. Keep the braid as tight as possible. Play tug of war with the wire every 6 inches to shape the cable.

Once the wires are braided you'll want to prep the conductors for soldering. Cut the two ground wires 3/16" shorter on each end. Strip each wire 1/8". Solder the signal wire to the center pin. Solder the two ground wires to the sides of the rca barrel (solder 1 ground on each side of the signal conductor).

Repeat procedure on other end of cable. Make sure before you solder the other end that you add the fiberglass sleeving and the 2 rca outer barrels. Once you have soldered the ed of the cable test to make sure you have signal. If the cable is working properly go ahead and heat up the glue gun. You are going to fill the inside of the rca barrel with hot glue. The hot glue will insulate the solder joints and act as a wire dampener. You want the fiberglass sleeving inside the barrel so the hot glue will hold secure. Once hot glue is added you have about 4 to 5 seconds to screw on the outer barrel before the glue completely dries. Once both ends are finished go ahead and cut 2" of 1/2" heat shrink to secure the rca barrel. The adhesive lined heat shrink will act as a strain relief for the cable one it dries and cools down.

About an hour after the cable is finished go ahead and listen for cable direction. You will hear increased bass in one direction and not in the other. The increased bass, center focus, smooth high's will be the correct cable direction. Use a paint pen to mark the end of the cable with an arrow for proper direction.

Now plug the cable into your ac plug/outlet burn-in unit. The arrow shoud be pointed toward the component. Leave the component on 24/7 for the next 4 or 5 days. Actually after 60 hours you should begin to hear the increased bass response. Over the next 40 hours the high's will continue to become smoother and more extended.

I think this cable will shock you at the end of the project. I know it's a pain to break the cable in over a week time, but the end result is night and day. The sound will knock your socks off.

You can also make analog interconnects using the same cable design and break-in method.

Good luck and report back...


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Alan Maher
Perfect Cable
post #30 of 150
Thread Starter 
Kevin,

I don't know if you can do this in your room, but you can also fine tune your surround speakers the same way. If your speakers are mounted on the wall you can use the measurements for the distance to the nearest room corner and the distance to the ceiling from the center of the woofer. From there you can fine tune it's placement by moving it up and down the height of the wall. Use full range music (the same material you used to tune the front speakers) to tune the placement. You would like them to sound as close to the front channels as possible.



------------------

Alan Maher
Perfect Cable
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